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MILITARY THOUGHT (TOP',Tsome Thoughts on the Developraont of the Soviet Army Tanky Marshal of the Soviet Union R. Malinovskiy
A reliable source
erbatim translation of an article titled "Some Thoughts on the Development of the Soviet Army Tanky Marshal of the Soviet Union R. Malinovskiy.
This article appeared in2 First Issuepecial version of the Soviet military journal Voyennaya Mysl (Military Thought). This journal is published irregularly and Is classified TOP SECRET by the Soviets. 2 First Issue went to press on
He ad guarters Comment: Military Thought is published oy the USSk Ministry of Defense in three versions classified RESTRICTED, SECRET and TOP SECRET. The RESTRICTED version has been issued monthlyhile the other two versionsuea irregularly. The TOP SECRET version was initiated in By the end1 issues of the SECRET version had beenf them1 .
Some Thoughts or. the Developwent if tht Soviet Ar.iyroopa by
Marshal of the Soviet Union R. Malinovskiy
The development of armored equipment attains exceptionally Important significance urder modern conditions, and it is completely natural that lately, ln our classified militaryiscussion of this question has started. The fact 'hat our prominent military leaders participated in the discussion of the vital problems of developing our Armed Forces, Including the tank troops, should be welcomed. We should never forget that truth is born of controversy, and even more so when we useested weapon as Marxist-Leninist dialectic*. The discussion of these questions attained such an active nature that it cannot be disregarded. Therefore, we decided to Join in it and to share some of our thoughts concerning this. It goes without saying that we have not assigned ourselves tho goal of giving the final, categorical conclusions on all thoso questions.
The discussion concerns the problems of developing armored equipment, the development and intent of taik troops, their organizational structure, and methods of their employment ln warfare. The most varied ana contrary opinions have been expressed. Th* opinions of some comrades have split on several problems. Some hotheads consider that the development of tank troops has been turnederious problem, ard one can even hear the voices of certsirwho say that tht-gII and its development haa ead end. All this is quite understandable;re living throughifficult period Ir. the development of military
art that It is not so easy to find the right path as it seems at first glance.
Lately, Soviet military art has beenin connection with the creation of new We cannot lag bohind this development. be taken into consideration that peoplenew ideas with difficulty, despite thepeople are the creators of these ideas. conclusions and categorical assertionsvalidity should not be tolerated becauselead us to large errors which are hard toIt Is essontlal to approach thediscussion profoundly andthe conclusions that result from the Comrades should not be censured forand suggestions that seem foolishJ page of original text missing).
During further development and technicalof tanks, the groat potentialitiesin them for conducting mobile combat operations became evident. Therefore, in the period preceding the Second World War much attention was given to tho development of tank troopa in the major countries of' the world. reat number of tanks possessing high combat qualities appeared on the battlefields of the Second World War. Tho massed employment of tanks, supported by powerful air strikes and artillery flro,uccessful resolution of the problem of breaking through the defense and developing an offensiveroat operational depth. esult of this, the Second World War, with the exception of certain periods, basicallyobile nature.
The main positive result of mass employment of tanks in the past war consists of this.
Simultaneously'with the development of tanks, weapons for combating tanks, antitank weapons, were
being developed. rolonged period of time there hasersistent competition between the tanks and the antitank weapons. During the years of the Second World War, despite tho mass employment of fairly effective antitank weapons, the tanks stood up to then and retained their overwhelming superiority until the end of the war.
In order not toistake In evaluating the combat characteristics of our modern tank troops and in determining the direction of their future development, let us briefly examine tho path followed by thea in the Second World War. This will also help us reveal some lessons of history that should not be forgotten.
The tank troops of the Soviet Army played an outstanding role in the defeat of fascist Germany's armed forces. Possessing such remarkable qualities as high mobility, groat firepower, and good armored protection, the tank troops became the main strike force of our ground forces.
The skillful employment of great masses of artillery and aircraft to neutralize the enemy defense, followedassed tank attack In close coordination with Infantry, ensured the successful breakthrough, of the fascist German troop defense. Tank troops played an especially great role In developing the breakthrough and finally defeating the opposing enemy groupings. Those troops were the leading force in conducting operationsreat depth at high speeds. Tank armies and tank and mechanized corps , led Into the breakthrough and led by brave and courageous commanding officers, always decisively rushod into the enemy's operational depth, encircled and broke up his main groupings, routed the reserves, and captured Important areas and lines. Such employment of tank troops gavemobile nature to the operations of the Second World War permitted tho swift achievement of the defeat
of enemy operational groupings, and the penetration of the operational formation of his troopsreat depthhort period of time. The tank troops have the right to be proud of the results of their operations in the Second World War.
In the past lt was said about the cavalry:glorious history of cavalry is the history of its commanding officers". This aphorism refers to the tank troops to an even greater degree: ancommanding officer at the headank army, tank corps, or tank divisionosta most fatal thing. No matter how perfect-armored equipment is, an indecisive commanding officer at the head of the tank troops cannot ensure their successful combat employment. Wo should always firmly remember this condition. The decisive factor that ensured the successful employment of tank troops in the Second World War, however, was the high level of Soviet armored equipment. Socialist industry and our designers armed the tank troops with splendid tanks and assault weapons. It is generally known thatingle foreign state, that activelyin the Second World War was able to achieve the same high level in the development of armored equipment as was achieved in the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Army entered the war having throe types of tanks: light (BT6ittle later0ediumnd the heavy (KV)The medium and heavy tanks were considered to beasic ones. However, there were extremely few of these tanks, and atthebeginning of thehe basic part of our tank pool was composed of light tanks tbat were obsolete by thathis was already evident from the experience of the Spanish Civil War6 It is true that not all the highly placed military leaders understood this. Many of them considered that we did not need better tanks and that war could be conducted with the existing tanks.
Such leaders hindered tank developmentober calculation overruled them, and, as is known, before the war our tank troops began.to be rearmed with new types of tanks. However, we were unable to complete this by the beginning of the fascist German attack because time was lost.
Ouranks and heavy KV tanks which were completely modern at that time and, with their comparatively powerful armament and better armor protection, proved to be more powerful in single combat withIIV medium tanks. They also suffered fewer losses from antitank weapons than the German tanks.
All this indicates that we took the correct direction ln the development of armored equipment on the eve of the war. Itualitativefor us in armored equipment over fascist Germany at the beginning of the war. In the initial period of the war, however, becausehole series of great mistakes connected with Stalin's personality cult and his military environment (voyennoye okruzheniye) which permitted the treacherous attack of fascist Germany, the Hitlerites were able to achievesuperiority In the number of tanks, especially on the main axes, and also in the methods of their combat employment over tho Soviet Army. This the operations of our troops very adversly and led us to serious defeats in the initial period of the war.'
It is essential to note that by the summer3 the fascist army was armed with new "Panther" and "Tiger" heavy tanks and also with "Ferdinand" assault guns, which had better armored protection and more powerful armament while our tanksremained the same. On tho eve of the Kurskertain qualitative superiority in armored equipment temporarily passed Into the hands of
Germany, It was under these disadvantageous conditions that this outstanding tank battle occurred which ondod, however, with the greatest defeat of fascist Germany. The backbone of Hitler's Germany was brokon in this battle.
The qualitative superiority of the Geraan tanke over our tanas did not last long. Already4 mass quantitiesanka began to arrive with anm gun that was good for that time. Tbe new IS heavy tank, armedun and having powerful araored protection, arrived to replace the KV tanks. The German "Panthers" and "Tigers" and also "Ferdinands" could no longer compete with ournew tanks. It is true thateavy tank, the "Kinghich had approximately the ease armored protection asS tank, became part of the Gorman oqulpment. But the German tank was armed with anm gun, and its weight reachedons as opposed toons for our IS tank. here waaimltod numbereavy tanks in the Gorman Army. At the sameargo numbor of assault guns, including heavy ones, became part of our army's equipment. All this nsured the reliable superiority of our armored equipment over that of the Germans until the very end of the Socond World War. Our industry alao ensured tho quantitative superiority in tanks over fascist Germany and its allies.
The tank equipment of our alllee In ths last war the British and American tankawere also inferior to our tanks. The basic British tanks; MX-III (Valontlne) and HK-IVad weak armament2 mm gun) and lowom per hour) . The American2anks were superior to the British tanks inm andm guns) andreater apoed; however, they also were inferior to our tanks in maneuverability, armament, dimensions, and were
very heavy. The Soviet tanks had powerful diesel engines installed in them, and at that time this was something quite advanced in world tank building.
Consequently, during the years of the Second World War, Soviet tank building firmly occupied first place in the entire world. It provided our army with remarkable combat vehiclestanks and assault guns, which aided the successful conduct of war against fascist Germany.
Parallel with the development of tanks dirlng the Second World War antitank weapons were being developed. As is known, we began the struggle against fascist tanks with bottles ofixture, with antitank grenades, bunches of regular hand grenades, antitank rifles, etc, which, strictly speaking, required single combatan against tanks. We did not have any alternative. For that reason, we used divisionalmm guns, and alsom andm antiaircraft guns together with antitank artillery to combat enemy tanks. But all these systems proved to be cumbersome and clumsy and little suited for combating tanks. e had the mass production ofm andm antitank guns and antitank rifles set up, and this strengthened our antitank defense. Them gun became the basic weapon of antitank artillery. 7 mmguns began to reach our army. In the same year the artillery received, armor-piercing subcaliber projectiles for theam regimental gunsm divisional howitzers. he delivery to the army of SU-85 assault mounts, armed with anm gun, andm antitank guns began inield and antiaircraft artillery and aircraft with special antitank bombs, the so-called PTABtank aerialrotivotankovayaoraba) which were successfully employed to destroy tanks, were brought in to combat tanks. Anumber of tanks were put out of action
enemy tanksborne by the49mm antit.n* gun.
Moreover, the basic shell waa the armor-plercin*
-haped charge P anUtank Oil] (kumulyatlvnyy snaryad) showed greathowever, It was Inferior to the armor-piercing
of German tanks were deatroy-
respects in comparison with the antitank defense system of the fascist army. The base, of ourdefense were the tank-destroyer brigades and regiments and aleo SAU regiments. Possessing Jreat
Urgem thrown into the axes of the enemy tank attack
quickly assumed firing positions; and fired at
?SrnX t*nk udlt8 *nd ere atao thrown into the axes of the enemy tank attacks and
they combated, the tanks ins quiteform these
lt! andl'Upg* unita* Eluding both
Bb" pI.on! andcompanies of antitank rifles,
aaSlSn hB Gernandivisions. In JhJ rt J qulckl* concentrated these weapons.
uuaapest, and in other sectors.
wtitank weapons, including powerful guided mobile
mines, which not only wore not inferior into our antitank weapons, but were even superior to them. Them guns and the assault mounts, armed withm gunsigh muzzle velocity of the shell, were especially effective. However, the basic mass of antitank weapons of the German Army were in infantry divisions, and it did not have such mobile and powerful large units and units as our tank-destroyer brigades and regiments.
The Germansairly solid antitank defense on the offensive sectors of our troops but on different organizational principles'. Theirdefense was less adaptable for fast maneuvering and concentration of efforts on certain axes, and when they were subjected to our artillery and aircraft strikes they were put out of action faster. To restore the overwhelmed antitank defense the Germans had to bring in new forces and weapons, but often these did not exist. All this greatly simplified ourof the enomy defense. Of ^course, in this matter an important role was also played by such factors as the general artillery fire superiority of our army, Initiative in operations, and higher military art.
Still, from this indisputable historical fact the important conclusion suggests itself: the success of combat operations is ensured not only by 'the
he necessary weapons ofTFelr
It Is necessary to note that by the end of tho war the Germans had succeeded inenacing weapon against tankstho Panzerfaust, based on the employment of shaped charge antitank shells. Itass -rocket-nring weapon which wasto manufacture. Its range of operation was fairly small, and the infantry was armed with it.
tank armor was burned through by the ahaped cbarga
ahell of the Panzerfaust. True, It Bust be said that thla weapon made its appearance not because of tbe easy life the Germans led, but lt also appeared. In Its way,eapon for single coabat of aanankthat with which we started, the Gornans ended withbut lt was already unable to exert any noticeable Influence on the outcome of the war because by that time the fate of fascist Gormany waa already decided; however, lt Indicated the appoaranceew effective close combatweapon.
The successful employment of tank troops in the past war, tho same as of othor arms of troops,onsiderable dogree depended on theirstructure. In this question we were able toefinite success. During the years of the Second World War the organization of the Soviet tank troops corresponded quite closely to the nature of war and the methods of employing tank troops in It, in comparison to the organization of the tank troops of other states. However, we did not arrive at it at once.
At the beginning of the war, in connection with the lack of tanks, we had to reject mechanized and tank corps. By the fallhe Soviet Army had separate tank brigades, regiments, and battalions which were used to reinforce rifle and cavalry large unite. As the saying goes, it was necessary "to cut one's coat according to the cloth."
Already in the initial period of the Second World War, tho progress of armed combat Indicated tho need to have more powerful tank largo units to combat enemy tank groupings and to exploit ones success. he mass production of tanks was set right, and this made it possible to begin forming tank and mechanized corps and then tank armies. In
ve established the organization of the tank troops which remained without any substantial changes until the end of the war*
The special features of this organization were limited to the following. The composition of the Soviet Armyairly large number of separate tank brigades, tank and tank assault (tankosam-okhodnyy) regiments. They vere all used mainly to reinforce the rifle divisions aa tanka for direct infantry support. In the defense, they ensured the necessary stability of the combat formations, and on tbe offensive theyecisive role in the successful breakthrough of the enemy defense. All the separate tank brigades and regiments vere under the orders of the command of the fronts and the Supreme High Command, but in some armies, and even in corps, they had their own organic tank assault regiment. This provided us the opportunity tothe tank troops on the main axes vhenout offenaive operations.
To develop the offenaive and to conduct mobile operations in the operational depth, our army had tank and mechanized corps as well as tank armies. They vere not assigned to teak of breaking through the enemy defense; they vere intended for entry into the breakthrough carried out by tho rifle divisions together with the NPP (direct infantryeposredstvennaya podderzhka pekhoty) tanks, vith artillery and aircraft support. This ensured the retention of tanka in these large unlta and fornatioco to perform the main tank of the- the rout of the enemy grouping in mobile operations in cooperation with and with the support of aircraft. But In practice, tank and mechanized corps and tank armies did not stop before the creationinished breakthrough and,ule, vere brought In to complete the breakthrough of the defense with its subsequent development.
The tank corps had three tank and one aotorlzed rifle brigades In their composition. The sechanized corps includod three atechanized and one tank brigades Initially the tank army included tank and mechanized corps, rifle and sometimes cavalry divisions. Butank army did not existong time. Soon only the tank and mechanized corps were loft in itsotal of two or three corps, or just the opposite, tank and mechanized large units were withdrawn from their composition, and it waa replenished with riflo divisions and was transformed into aarmy.
Tho Gorman Array had tank and motorized divisions that approximately corresponded to our tank and mechanized corps, although as for the number of tanks they were Inferior to the latter. There were also tank armies in the composition of the German troops, but until the end of the war tank and Infantry divisions were included in their. theyombined composition. Separate tank' or assault battalions were added to reinforce the Infantry divisions. In the British and American armies, there were armored or tank divisions; they did not have tank armies. Thus, during the period of the Second World War, the Soviet Army had the best organization of the tank troops, and in the Second World War this permitted us to achievesuperiority over the German fascist army also in tho methods of employing tank troops In operations.
For the Gorman Army it is characteristic that its tank divisions and armies operated in the first echelon from the beginning and until the end of an oporation, and they received Independent offensive zones, broke through the defense on an equal footing with tho infantry divisions and the field armies, and developed the breakthrough themselves. In this, fundamentally thoy counted on tanks and aircraft;
they did not have powerful artillery for theespecially at the beginning of the war. This method of tank troop operations was successful at the beginning of the warirm defenseolid front did not exist and our troops did not have experience and weapons toreat mass of tanks. However, in the further progrees of the war, the situation changed fundamentally. Theof the prepared defense became tho most difficult stage of the offonslve operation. reakthrough the tank troops, if they were drawn in for this, suffered their greatest losses in tanks. However, the Germans did not change their tactics of employing tank troops. As before, theof the defense was carried out by the tank divisions. That is the way lt was during the2 campaign, then near Kursk and in the area of Lake Balaton near Budapest. It is natural that when breakingtrong defense that Is wellwith antitank weapons tank divisions lost the basic mass of tanks and successescould notbe achieved. Thus, during the war the Germans were unable totheir established pattern in the employment of tank troops.
Our tactics for tbe employment of tank troops differed from those of the Germansignificant degree. First of all, the great massing of tanks on sectors of the breakthrough should be noted. Up tooercent of all tanks availableront wore usually concentrated on the axis of the main strike, and the donslty of the tanks reachednits per kilometer of the front,up toanks and 3AU for direct support of infantry. The enemy defense was overwhelmed by artillery and aircraft and waa then broken through by the operations of rifle divisions, reinforced by separate tank brigades and tank and assault gun regimonts. Mobileank armies or tank and mechanized corps were led into the createdand they completed the breakthrough and
immediately rushed into the operational depth The mobile troops were usually assigned the tasks of enveloping the basic enemy groupings and encircling and destroying them. In the last stage of the war mobile troops were often employedwift advance
eptQ with th* goalsplitting the front.
dividing enemy groupings, of destroying them by units, and of capturing important operational linos and areas as swiftly as possible. ule, the mobile troops daringly detached themselvesonsiderable distance from the remaining forces of the front and conducted decisive mobile operations In the enemy roar. Tho depth of the mobile troop advance sometimes reached upm (theand theder operations). The speeds of the tank troop advance fluctuated betweenndm, but in certain periods they reachedm per calendar day. In the operation to rout the Kwantung Array, the 6th Guards Tank Army, despite the difficult conditions of the mountainous terrain, advancedate of aboutm per calendar day In those periods when the army did not meetenemy resistance. the speed of the advancem per calendar day.
Thus, during the Second World War the Soviet Armyery real superiority over thearmy in the art of employing tank troops. As for the American and British army tactics oftankhey woro notigh level and were not distinguished by great mobility and swift operations.
The great experience acquired by the Soviet Army in the years of tho Second World War. in problems of combat employment of tank troops, their technical equipping, and organizational structure, woro taken into consideration by us both in the development and improvement of tank troops in the postwar period. However, we could not limitonly to the experience of history in this
future development of Soviet military art must proceed not only and not so much along the path of interpreting lessons of past wars, even though they must be taken into consideration, aa along the path of consistent and persistent Investigation of fundamentally new methods for conducting combat operations which permit the fullest use of thecapabilities created by the development of weapons of armed combat.
The development of armored equipment} thestructure, and the methods of combatof tank troops were decisively Influenced in the postwar period by such factors as thegeneral scientific and technical progress in the country, the appearance of powerful nuclear/missile weapons, and the change in the nature and in the methods of conducting war. The swift development of antitank weapons also played an important role and continues to do so.
In comparison with the Second Worlduture war will be conducted with qualitatively new weapons of armed combat, Tho hroad employment of nuclear/missile weapons and modern combathas sharply increased combat capabilities, the strike force, nnd troop mobility. This led to the review of opinions on the natureuture war, on the technical equipping and organization of the Armed Forces, and also the basic tenets forcombat oporations and armed combat on the whole, which were established on the experience of the past war.
uture war the objectives of armod combat will be not only the armed forces deployed in the theaters of military operations, but mainly the
rear area of the warring-he industrial base, supplies of raw materials and foodstuffs, the eye ten of state control, communications, and also strategic weapons of armed combat deployed beyond the limits of the theater of military operatlona.
Nyciear strikes against important enemyand in the rear andof forcea and weapons on tha ground,air, and on the sea, with the purpose ofthe results of these strikes for the finalIs the basis of coabat operations of the forces. The combat operations of the groundwill attain greatswiftness, dynamicmobility. In short periods of tine they muat able to carryurposeful offensiveentire depth of the theater of militarydecisive role in achieving the high speedsoffensive will belong to the tank troopa,poeaess high combat qualities. It isthe baflis-of theae requirements that we muatwhen determining the paths of future tank
The improvement of Soviet tanka and theirln the postwar years mainly proceeded along the line of-irepower and effectiveness, mobility, of improving armor protection, of equipping themystem of antlatomlc protection, of providing them with the ability to cross water barriers on the bottom, of increasing their cruising range, and of increasing their service life. esult of the large amount of work that was performed, new models of Sovlot tanks have been built, that are suporior to the latest models of tanks of tho armlea of the largest capitalisthe USA, Britain, France, and Weatccording to several of their tactical-technical and combat quality features nd they have become part of our armament.
During thla periodheavy)edium, and
nd the light amphibious tank) became part of our armament. Work continues on several experimental models.
Therem gun Installed on the heavy tank whichhaped charge antitank shell that can penetrate, In practice, any armorodern tank (upm thick). The medium tankmm- gun Installed forhaped charge shell has been- adopted,that possesses great armor-plorclng capability (upm). The light tank is armed6 mm gun thatairly powerful shaped charge antitank shell. By installing an armament stabilizer (stabilizator vooruzhenlya) on all tanka, their firing effectiveness when on the move sharply increased. For example, the firing effectivenessL tank at speeds ofopb reachedercent. m smooth bore gunnstalled on2 medium tank,ec muzzle velocity of"the armor-piercing aubcallber shell, has very high armor penetration. Besides these there are 'shaped charge antitank ahells for thla gun with even higher armorability.
The tanks have new devices installed for driving and for controlling fire, including night sights (nochnoy prltsel). On the medium tanks the supply of ammunition is Increased (fromohe horsepower of the engines has been Increased, and the cruising rangem.
All theee and other improvements greatlythe combat characteristics of tanks. Our medium tanks possess especially good combat qualities. They firmly hold the title of tho best tanks in tho world.
The combat qualities of our tanks may be seen when comparing them with the tanks of our probable enemies. For comparison it is adequate to take the basic types of tanks which may include: in the USSR, the5 tank and the2 tank; In the USA,A2 medium tank and the latest newnd in Britain, theank. The experimental models of medium tanks that have been built in France and West Germany are not finished and have not become part of theiryet.
From the given data it can be seen that5 tank withm gun is superior to theA2 tank according to several Indicators: it weighs less, has better armor protection, more or less equal firepower,reater cruising range. However, it is inferior to the0 tank and the.British; "Centurion" tank in firepower. This is explained by the factm gun is mounted on their tanks for which thereub-caliber shelluzzle velocityec. We do not havehell form gun yet. It is necessary to speed up the creationub-caliber shell for rifled guns on all types of tanks.
can tur ioli**
of fire of
Ab for2 tank, It le superior to the0 tank according to the baaicspecially in the rtnge of grazing shot and armor penetration. It should be kept in mind, however, that the smoothbore gun has several Importantin particular, the metal body (sektor) of the subcaliber shell that shatters right after the firing creates the danger of striking our own troops operating in front of the tank. ertain period this gun may ensure the qualitative superiority of our tanks over the tanks of our probable enemy. But we do not have the right to -be content; we must decisively move aheadignificantly greater distance in the quality of tanks from our probable enemies.
If we compareeavy tank with the) tank, then our tank has slightly hotter armor protectionreater speed and cruising range. The British heavy tank) haa more powerful armament, form gun mountod on itubcaliber armor-plorclng holluzzle velocityec.
We made an effort toualitative superiority of our heavy tank over the American and British hoavy tanks byim gun on it. Experimental models were prepared. But because of thia the tank became too heavy. It became necessary to give up further work on these models. 2 medium tank may successfully wage coabat against the hoavy tanks of the USA and Britain. Also, M tank possesses combat qualities that are not brd.
Ouright tank is Inferior to) light tank in armor protection and firepower. But lt Is almostons lighter and Is amphibious, which Is very important for conducting reconnaissance, andreater cruising range. As for the other models of light tanks, the experience of the Socond World War showed that it was Inadvisable to use them, and we stopped building them.
Heavy Tank Comparison.-Table
produced Combat weight Armor protection (in mm):
Side ull Armament of tank
(caliber of gun In mm)
Muzzle velocity of armor piercing shelloc)
Machine gun aliber (mm
Armor penetration, in mmarmor piercingt aanglo of impact
at aangle of impact Unit of fire:
rounds for gun (No.)
cartridges for machine gun Maximum speed (kph) Cruising range (km)
* 4otalf these tanks were produced in the USA; tanks of this typo are not produced any more. Modernization of the ones produced is being dono.
ton tank, the
totalf these tanks wero produced.mm gun and
p multiple fuel engine is being tested, but the armor of the null does not excoodm.
During the discussion some comrades concentrated all their attention on the search for shortcomings of the antitank guided missiles. Naturally, antitank miBHjIlka any new weapons, haveThey are only beginning to be introduced into the armament of the armies, fire with them may bewithin the limits of risibility, and technically they are not sufficiently reliable. For example, ao far they have only been tested under firing range conditions, where nothing Influences the operator and he is not subjected to any danger. In combat it can be difforent. The operator only needs to lose his presence of mind or even to flinch and then the missile in flight will "flinch"also; it will not hit the tank. This is very important. Moreover, the speed of the miasile flight is too low, the dead space (mertvaya voronka) (uprom the launching mount) Is too great, and thore Is the need to see the tank to be destroyed, something which is not always possible. Visibility is greatly influenced by the relief of the terrain,"on paper itwos flat, and they forgot about the ravines and that one had to walk throughnd lt la possible that the missile will meet various types of obstructions before reaching the target causing the missile to explode, etc. All this lowers the combat qualities of the antitank miaalles. But tha indicated shortcomings will be eliminated, and it woulderious mistake to underestimate this new type of antitank weapon.
Ve must consider the fact that modern antitank weapons are light, mobile, and very effective in armor penetration. On the battlefield they will be dispersed, and unavoidably part of them will survive, or new units will be moved out to replaco the ones destroyed, even on axes where nuclear weapons are used. Therefore,'the underestimation of newweapons la very dangerous, and it may load to
the fact thatuture war our tank troops nay meet such surprises which may decisively reduce their combat capabilities.
It is necessary to recognize frankly that our development of armored equipment in the postwar period proceeded without duo consideration for theof antitank weapons. Thiserious lesson, and we must not Ignore it. esult of this, the antitank missiles and other new antitank weapons with shaped charges took the lead over armor. The old method for tank development has been exhausted, and we mustewrastic patJh for its future development. . Khrushchev personally assigned usask, and we must accomplish lt as soon and as well as possible.
What direction should the further tanktake?
At the present time this question ie being actively discussed, but opinions on it have differed greatly. Some comrades consider that despite the development of antitank weapons the modern tankehicle completely capable of combat, one that does not require fundamental reconstruction, at least for the near future. Others, on the contrary, say that the modern tank, especially the heavy one, has outlived itself, any mass tank attack may be disrupted, and that the productionank is not justified economically. Therefore, it is proposed to return to the light amphibious tank or toew armored vehicleheeled running gear of the armored-personnel-carrier-type. The foreign press has carried statements that the tankeapon of the past war and thatutureehicle with powerful armored protection is not required.
It seems to us that it is impossible to agree
with either opinion. Both now and, obviously in
the future we cannot reject the tank. Itcombat qualities that permit theperformance of combat tasks under conditionswarfare. Among all the otherthe tankuclear burstthe Shockwave andery important quality under modernthe tank has great mobility and fireforce. At the present time the missilesdesignation have become theweapon of the ground troops. Tube artilleryto be the "god of war." If the tank isthe armament, then the fire and strike forcetroops will be sharply reduced. Onethis matter inay that all thefire destruction of the enemyuture warperformed only by missile troops ofdesignation using nuclear weapons;will still have to be performed byweapons. Tanks are the best weapons fornecessary they can be concentrated ondue to their high mobility, and thisnecessary fire density. Therefore, avehicle must remain in the armament ofJ
At the same time, the modern tank has become vulnerable to new antitank weapons; is poorlyfrom shaped charges; and has insufficient antiatoraic protection. Therefore, we cannot remain at the level achieved under any circumstances.
Recent research showed that there areto Increase considerably the shaped charge protection of tanks. This problem is resolved byspecial shielding (ekranirovaniye) devices, the employment of combined (kombinirovanaya) armor, and the use of appropriate forms of armor protection.
This may greatly increase the viability of tanks onbattlefield. Moreover, it will not require anof armor protection and consequently an increase in the tank's weight.
tank's ajitjjitoaii^_protectl^will igniflcance. It is ichieveTT^Tin-"lininga" (podboy) that reduce the and also an automatic system for ling the tank, by removing radloactiv< r, by creating pressurization,rotection of the tank's crew from medium yield " kt) nuclearrom ground zero.
Increased combat charactt
thetmKujL_have beenhe muzzle velocity of an armor-piercing shell of this gun has been brought upec, the same armor penetration as achieved by them gun The firingof them gunigh-explosive shell reachesilometers.
The presencearge.number of tanks with guns having powerful chargesonsiderable rango of fire in tank and motorized rifle large units permits their use for fire from concealed positions with the goal of performing various tasks and first of all of dostroytna; the missile-mounts, atomic weapons, and b'thor enemy objectives both in open and in concealed positions.
The acceptance into armament and theof theedium tank with the new smoothgun will undouoTeo*ly Increase the combat capabilities oftank troops. This tank may successfully combat any enemy tank, using subcaliber and high-explosive antitank shells. Therefore, lt is advisable toefinite number of tanksmooth bore gun.
At the present time our designers areew modeledium tank weighingons which willm smooth bore gun with fullof loading, and this will permit reducing the crew by one man. Subsequently, the tank will also ifled gun Installed on it with mechanized loading. This tank willomplete antlatomlc, antichemical, aid antibacterlological protection and also will have armor that ensures protection from high-explosive antitank weapons of destruction. The tank running gear will ensure an average speed over terrain (not over roads) of aboutphaximum speed over roads of aboutph4
A noticeable Increase in the combattank troops may be achieved by accepting intoedium tank with guided missile(range ofn thewhich work is proceeding at the presenttank should destroy- any enemy tank when onwith ono or two rounds.
After the new medium tanks with guided missile equipment are accepted into our armament and are assimilated,it will be poesible to raise the question of replacingOM heavy tank because the new medium tanks will have higher combat characteristics. However, lt is necessary for us to take intothat our probable enemies, especially Britain, continue work on building heavy tanks with increased qualities in comparison with the existing ones.
Wo should concern ourselves with the problem ofombatank destroyer -with guided missile armament of the assault-gun type.
At the present time work is being done toalf-tracked (or wheeled) combat vehicle with
modern antitank weapons and nuclear bursts; and this will permit the employment of our tank troops with greater successuture war.
Ve have expressed some thoughts on the building of new tanks and combat vehicles in the near future. But this by no means reduces the significance of the tanks which we have in our armament. They are quite suitable for combat use and can perform combat tasks successfully. We are firmly convinced that certain statements which appeared in the press and which express doubt about the usefulness of the tank for modern warfare are wrong. The tank continues toowerful weapon of modern combat and, by developing, will remain so in the future. However, it is necessary to take into consideration new conditions for employing tanks on the battlefield, in particular the possession of very effective antitank weapons by the enemy. For this it is necessary to take measures in all cases for the decisive neutralization and destruction of these weapons of the enemy, in order to decrease as much as possible the effectiveness of their operation against tanks on the battlefield.
Above we spoke of the immediate task oftank equipment. But this is not enough. We must also look into the more distant future. No weapon can be developed successfully if at tho properrospective forward movement is not determined. In relation to tanks, this problem has become especially urgent at the present tin's.
It is quite apparent that despite the presence and development of nuclear/missile weapons mass ground troops will participate in future warsong time yet. To wage successful armed combat the ground troops will have to have combat vehicles which, as far as possible, must be able to resist nuclear bursts and protect personnel from light
radiation and penetrating radiation and also froa destruction by conventionalhose vehicles must be reliably armored. Moreover, we must have at least two types of combat vehicles: tbe first typeehicle with light armament to conduct an infantry battleombatboyevaya mashlna)); the second type should have heavier armament so that it could wage combat against any combat vehicles on tbe battlefield and achieve success.
The second type of vohlcles of the futuro will apparently appearontinuation of modern tank development. It ie mainly intended for the swift exploitation of the results of using nuclear/missile weapons, for the final defeat of enemy ground troop groupings, and for the seizure of important areas and objectives. For thle the tank of the future must be capable of waging successful combat against tanks and lighter enemy "combat vehicles" and of destroying his personnel and the fire weapons of the ground troops, including nuclear and antitank weapons.
It should be takon into consideration that in
a future war thearge mass of tanks. They must be opposed by our tanks with such armament which would ensure the reliable destruction of enemy tanks. But In actuality, the combatof tube artillery are almost all exhausted. In the near future lt will apparently be replaced by modern guided and homing missiles with powerful new charges.
However, antitank missiles may not be the only armament of the tank of the future. Antitank missiles are close combat weapons, which are intended mainly for combat against tanks. The tank of the future apparently must have weapons with the aid of which lt would be possible to wage combat against enemy tactical nuclear weapons and neutralize the
Tank troop operations will be supported by missile troops of operational-tactical designation. But in several Instances this support may not be effective enough, especially when conducting mobile operations ln the operational depth. At the preaont time the missile troops of operational-tactical designation are considerably inferior to the tank troopa in mobility. We must decisively increase their mobility. If the battle formations of tank troops contain protected mobile combat vehicles of the tank type but which are capable of delivering nuclear strikes against the enemy, then the combat capabilities of the tank troops will grow Wo must work on buildingissile combat vehicle, and it should be built.
There are many other problemsurely technical nature that require resolution: modern tank armament Is becoming obsolete, and we muat searchew type ofighter, economically more advantageous, and at the same time very stable and strong; we must Improve the running gear of the tank ao that it can ensure movement over the terrain at high speeds and great distances; weore powerful and more economical engine, etc. Right now we must work on the resolution of these problems.
A discussion is also proceeding on the problems of the role of tank troopsuture war andon the organization of these troops. The moat varied opinions have also been expressed on these problems. It is impossible to agreo with some of these opinions because this would not move us forward but would push us back and would inflict
on the combat effectiveness of our ground troops.
First of all, let us discuss the role of tank troopsuture war. There is no doubt that an Important roleuture war will bolong to tho tank troops. This arm of troops may use the results of massed nuclear/missile strlkos for their swift movement into the depth and the defeat of the opposing enemy groupings more quickly and more effectively than the motorized rifle or other troops which are organized on unified principles. Together with this it would be Incorrect to count on the fact that only the tank troops in their present existing organisation would perform all tbe tasks on the battlefield, s some comrades Tank troops cannot operate successfullyodern operation without missile troops of various designations and without close coordination withand motorized rifle troops in the main theaters of war. The successful conduct of combat operationsuture war will depend on Joint, clearlyoperations of all arms of troops, first of all of the missile, tank, motorized rifle, and airborne troops, The tank troops played anrole in tbe defeat of the German fascist troops in the past war, and we must not forget this. Now thoy must be prepared for operations undor the complex conditions of nuclear/missile warfare and for the display of exceptionaland endurance.
On the problems of tank troop organization opinions are divided. Some comrades favor the liquidation of the tank army and the transitioningle army organization. There Is also an opinionransitioningle division organization, the transition to the so-called unified division. These aro very serious problems andbe simply and easily resolved. The further
Soon after the Second World War, and taking into consideration its experience, three basic types of divisions were created in the composition of the ground troope: rifle, mechanized, and tank; and the tank army was reorganizedechanized army. The rifle division, which included the tank assault regiment (tankosamokhodnyyasfor breakingrepared defense, and tho mochanized division was lntonded for completing and developing the breakthrough. The mechanized army, the composition of which Included tank and mechanized divisions, was lntonded for commitment into the breakthrough and for conducting mobile combat operations in the operational depth. This organization of the ground troops conformed to the methods for conducting armed combat ln the ground theaters which were employed ln the last war, and it waa based on the experlonce of this war.
This ve should not forget even now,because everything new arises from the experience of the past.
The development of tha weapons of armed combat introduced changes in the methods of conducting military operations, and this ln turn, naturally, required the Introduction of corrections ln the organization of troops. Nuclear weapons, which were recolved into the armament at the beginning ofrought about the most serious and fundamental changes ln the methods of conducting military operations. Their further development and the appoarance of missileseans of delivering nuclear weapons to the target and the mass employment of this weapon completely changed tbe method of
breaking through the prepared enemy defense. Military operationswift and more mobile and dynamic nature, and broad possibilities for the employment of tank troops in the first echelon from the very beginning of the operation were discovered. By this time the complete motorization of the ground forces was achieved.
In connection with this, the decision was made to have one motorized rifle division, instead of rifle and mechanized divisions, and for it to have motorized rifle and tank units in its composition. The motorized rifle division is capable ofperforming the tasks of breaking through the enemy defense, developing the breakthrough, and conducting mobile operations in the depth. Also, for operations on the main axes it was necessary toivisionore -powerful strike force and at the sameighterank division, which could develop the offensive at high speedsreater depth and which would possess the best capabilities for waging combat against enemy tank troops.
The motorized rifle division was the basic large unit of the combined-arms army, which possesses almost the same combat characteristics, if not greater ones, as the mechanized army. Thus, naturally, the needechanized army ceased. However, lt immediately became necessary toarge unit which would possess swifter, powerful, breakthrough force and greater mobility than the combined-arms army. The tank army proved to be the bestof this type. Its composition normally includes three tank and one heavy tank divisions, but its organization iset form, and its composition may be changed depending on the situation. The tank army is intended for performing the most important tasks in operations, which must be performed reliably In the fastest possible way.
several significant cornectlona and additions have been Introduced into the organization of divisions and amies. The number of personnel in divisions has been sharply reduced, and the number of rear services units and. eetablishmenttin divisions and arales has been reduced, and this has lightened ithem and has increased their mobility. In this respect, however, everything has not yet been done.
We must find ways to lighten the divisions further. First of all, we must find new means to provide the divisions with everything necessary to wage combat and also now methods to_deliver and transportnecessary for daily living and combat. The fast development of industry, the appearance of new branches of production, and new discoveries create the necessary conditions for the decisive lightening of the organs and means of supplying and feeding.
Missile subunltB, armed with tactical missiles with nuclear charges, and antitank missile subunits are included in the composition of the motorized rifle and tank divisions. Missile large units, armed with operational-tactical missiles with nuclear charges, are included in the composition of the combined-arms and tank army. All this greatlythe combat capabilities of our divisions and armies and gives them remarkable new combat qualitios.
We consider that the existing organization of the ground troops meets modern requiromonts and that it corresponds to the nature and methods of conducting combat operations in tho ground theaters in the initial perioduture nuclear/missile war. In the nearundamental change in tho organization of the ground troops will not be necessary.-
If we compare the organization of our ground troopa with the organization of the ground troops of our probable enemy, it Is not hard to come to the conclusion that we have achieved better results ln this natter. Our tank division and the armored divialon of the USA have approximately the same number of tanks, but the American division has two to throo times more personnel and motor vehicles than ours. To this should be added the better quality of Soviet tanks and the presence ln our tank division of heavy tanks which the American division does nqt have. It is true that thearmored division does have more infantry and artillery, but this makes it more cumbersome and less mobile. It may be considered that in strike force and mobility the Soviet tank division is definitely superior to the American armored division and also to the tank dlvialons of the other NATO member countries.
Our motorized rifle divisionimes less personnel and motor vehicle transport than the corresponding divisions of the NATO member countries. In number of tanks, it surpasses tbe Americandivision but is slightly inferior to the British and Vest German divisions. The American division has more artillery while in our division there are more guided antitank missiles. Thus, our motorized rifle division is more mobile and is leas vulnerable to nuclear weapons lnwith the divisions of our probable enemy, and is not Inferior to them ln strike force and.
We also achieved the bost results in the organization of the army, and this is especially Important. The armies of the NATO countriesarmy corpsarge number of divisions andomplex system of coptrol and cumbersome rear services. Our combinod-arms armies, which are
Intended for operations ln tbe Western Theater, do notorpa control element and have much less ersonnel and rear services units and installations, even though their firepower and strike force are only slightly inferior to the armies of our probable enemy. The fact that thereank army in the composition of the Soviet Ground Troops and none In the NATO armyreat advantage for us in conducting combat operations under conditions of nuclear weapon employment.
Thus, it can be considered that the existing organization of our ground troops standsigher level than the organization of the troops of our probable enemy and that it corroaponds more closely to the nature and methods of conducting combat operationsuture war. Naturally, this does not moan that we must be content and rest on our laurels. During the discussion variouswere submitted on particular problems of improving the organization of the tank troops; some comrades proposed having single type tank regiments in the tankemove the heavy tank reglmenta from its composition; other comrades proposed transferring the motorized rifle regiment of the tank division, by bAttallons, into the composition of the tank regiments of this division; and proposals were also made for liquidating the battalion echelon of control in the tank divisions. All theso proposals deserve attention, and they should be thoroughly analyzed and studied, and all that Is best which strenthens our combat effectiveness should be used. roblem as whether it is better to remove the heavy divisions from theof the tank army and to have them in the reserve of fronts or of the Supreme High Command, and toingle type of division in the tank army should be weighed from all standpoints.
We muBt work continually on improving troop
organizational structure. But in this matter great caution and discretion must be exercised. Frequent changes in troop organization do not always promote increased combat readiness, more likely, just the opposite; it weakens them because any change in troop organization Is painfully experienced by the combat organism.
Can one consider that the need has arisen to unified divisions of groundingle organization? It seems to usis no such need at the present
uturo war, our ground troops will probably have to operate in the most diverse theaters of military operationsplains, mountains, forests, deserts, and in the Arctic. This fact itself already shows that there cannotingle troop organization for all these theaters. It is also impossible to create one type of division for the basiche Western Theater. This would result in dispersing of tho basic decisive combat weapons such as tanks, missile weapons,nd it would complicateassing on the main axes. The economic potentialities of the state should also be taken Into consideration. It would be unrealistic. Inadvisable, and completely wrong to provide all the divisions with theamount of tanks and other combat weaponsecisive nature.
During tho discussion, the proposal tohird type of division wasight motorized rifle division without tanks so that it could be used for swift transfer by air. But we havehe airborne landing division. We must work on the improvement of this division, and we must find new reliable and more effective weapons and means for its armament, transport, and landing. Apparently it is time to include the newssault guns for armament in the composition of the airborne landing division. The existing
rifle division can also be transferred easily by air transport lt is true, because it has no tanks so far. Therefore, there is no need toight division.
Perhaps one hears the greatest number of arguments oa the tank army. Some comrades propose that we abandon the tank army and have one type of army. The main argument that is advanced is usually that now there is no special difference in mobility and maneuverability between the combined-arms and tank armies and that the tank army will be unable to break away from the combined-arras army during the offensive operation.. But this argument is not completely convincing. The tank army still has relatively more tanks than the combined-arms army, if we proceed from the same number of large units. But this is not the main thing. It has fewer divisions and they are all of one type, lt is not as burdened with rear services and is more controllable. Consequently, in strike penetrating forco, swiftness, mobility and stability from nuclear strikes, it has definite advantages over the combined-arms army, and it Is impossible to disregard this. These qualities must be developed and used as fully as possible.
When resolving the problem of the tank army it is necessary to proceed, first of all, from the point of which method will be used to conduct future offensive operations. Apparently, first of all, the enemy troop grouping deployed in the theater will be subjected to massed nuclear/missile strikes. During this the front and army nuclear/missile weapons willtrike over the entire depth of the enemy operational troop formation. The missile troops of strategic designation will deliver an Incomparably more powerful strike.against the strategic objectives in the depth of the theater. this strike will also affect the groupings of the
forces, especially reserves, airfields, rear services of groups of armies, the system of control, etc. We do notompletely clear concept of what will happenesult oftrike. Some say that complete devastation willand will be difficult to overcome; others say that there will not be such devastation and that considerable life' And-ill remain. Apparently both have to be taken into consideration, but mainly we must consldor the huge destruction which nuclear/missile weapons are capable ofand also all the consoquences that arise from them. Right after the nuclear strikes the ground troop groupings will move to the offensive. These groupings will have to perform at least two basic tasks: tbe first, the main task, will be toswiftlyreat depth, Into the area and beyond the area subjected to missile strikes by strategic designation troopa ln order to disrupt the mobilization, capturo key areas and objectives, and to inflict destruction without allowing the enemy that survived to come to his senses; the second task will be to complete the total rout of those enemy forces that survive the nuclear strikes in the front offensive zones, with the same decisive movements into the depth of the enemy's country.
Today the best means for performing the first task are the tank armies ln close coordination with airborne troops; this will be tho basic strike force in performing this task.
The tank army may, with greater success than the combined-arms army, overcome areas subjected to nuclear strikes, rout the contacted onemy groMp-ings, which are also very veil supplied with tanks, in meeting engagements, and swiftly move to the deepest objectives for tho final performance of the tasks of armed combat on the given axis. Our tank
armies should prepare first of all for this very type of operation.
The combined-arms armies are also capable of delivering deep and swift strikes. Some of them will bo directed toward achieving the final goal of the operation in coordination with the tank armies or Independently. It should still be kept in mind that the combined-arms army may suffer great losses from enemy nuclear strikes and that it is larger numerically andittle less mobile. All these are insignificant minuses and in no case should they 'dishearten and hold back our combined-arms armies which should not only strive not to lag behind the tank armies in the speed of the offensive, but should show even higher speeds and capabilities.-.
It should also be taken into consideration that large enemy groupings will remain in the operational depth. They will be neutralized by nuclear strikes and broken up, but they will still be sufficiently suitable for combat so that they can cause our fronts serious trouble. It is essential to rout, destroy, or captureo perform the second task that was mentioned above. This is also an Important task. Without having performed it, it is impossible to count on the successful conclusion of the operation. It is advisable to use the combined-arms armies to rout these enemy groupings,in this way freeing the tank armies for deep strikes.
Consequently, we come to the conclusion that to abandon the tank army at the present time would be completely Incorrect. In history there already was an Instance when without adequate basis large tank large units (mechanized corps) were eliminated. Reality made it necessary to form them again, but this costot and time was lost. We should
forget thie lesson of history.
Tank divisions and tank armies possoss high combat characteristics such as mobility, great strike force, and relative stability tgatnst nuclear strikes. They are better able than other divisions and armies to utilize the results of nuclear/misBlle strikes for the swift advancereat depth and for performing tasks of armed combatpeed of advance up to 1Q0 km per calendar day or more, given'tho appropriate organization, support, and momentum. Despite the development of combat weapons against tanks and the changes of conditions and methods of employing tank troops, they willplay an Important role In the performance of the tasksuture war. If we are not able to avoid it.
That is how we seo the most Important tasks of the future development of the tank troops, their armament, organizational structure, and methods of combat employment. The main task consists of broadly developing work on the creation of new types of combat vehicles and new types of armoredwith powerful missile armament. Until this task Is performed, we cannot lessen our efforts eveninute to improve the existing tank equipment and to improve its qualities and viability. In the development of all types of armamont lt is essential to adhere closely to the rule: ew weapon is created, tho existing models must be improved. Only under this condition will thecombat readiness of our armed forces be ensured.
In the area of improving the organizational structure of the tank troops we should proceed in the direction of increasing the firepower and strike force of the large units and formations and their mobility and independence in performing
combat tasks. At the Bame time, we muat approach changes ln the organizational structure of the tank troopa with foresight, but very thoughtfully In order to avoid mistakes.
The questions of tank troop development which we have touched upon ln this article undoubtedlyfurther thorough study and practical testing during the everyday activities of our Armed Forces.
We should like to stress once again thatery great degree the success of tank troop operations depends on tbe level of the operational training of tank commanding offlcera and on their courago and decisiveness. The courageous and brave tank commanding officer, ankank division, or ank regiment into combat, achieves success in combat, ln an operation, and achieves victory over the enemy. Thetank commanding officer who is weak hearted Is the likeness of death. Their place ia not ln the tank troops. We proudly praise such outstanding tank commanding officers asf the Tank. Rybalko. Bogdanov,... Polozkov,.and many others who gave their life for our great cause. We-also praise our outstanding tank chief a, who are still^alive'today, fOr^their renowned combat deedsur great victory. We must cherish andthese glorious combat traditions of ourhoroic tank troops and learn from their traditions act courageously, bravely, and daringly ln combat and ln an operation. Figuratively speaking. If the combined-arms armiesecisive swift battering-ram, then tho tank armies areightly drawn bowstring; they fly swiftly to the designated target. Such must be the operations of our tank armies.Original document.